What I can do | Oxfordshire County Council

What I can do

How to help wildlife in your community, volunteering opportunities and funding available.

young volunteers

In your community

Wildlife needs protecting and habitats need managing all over Oxfordshire. Communities can provide vital help by appreciating, protecting and enhancing biodiversity in their local area.

Download a copy of our Community and Parish Guide to Biodiversity (pdf format, 12Mb)  to help give you ideas about what you can do in your community:

  • Discover what is in your area
  • Contribute to a parish or neighbourhood plan
  • Find sources of help, information and funding
  • Set up a local conservation group
  • Read about inspiring projects that have resulted in a better local environment and also enhance biodiversity.

Where to find wildlife in Oxfordshire

There are more than 150 wildlife sites throughout Oxfordshire that are open to the public – the links below help provide some ideas and inspiration.

Nature reserves

National Nature Reserves represent the finest wildlife and geological sites in the country, looking after some of our most pristine habitats, our rarest species and our most significant geology. Oxfordshire has three publicly accessible NNRs,  Aston Rowant, Chimney Meadow  and Cothill.

With more than 25 nature reserves across Oxfordshire, take a look and find your nearest Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBWOT) reserve.

Otmoor is an RSPB reserve north of Oxford of wet meadows and reedbeds, a haven for wildfowl, breeding wading birds, and a spectacular starling roost during the winter months. Alternatively, visit the Lower Windrush Valley Project for details of reserves near Witney.

For information on other places near you, Oxfordshire Nature Conservation Forum has produced a map of the county’s nature reserves.

Visit our woodlands

VisitWoods has mapped information on woodland sites near you. Oxfordshire highlights include the ancient hunting Forests of Wychwood and Bernwood, the internationally important beech woodlands of the Chilterns, Shotover Country Park, and not to forget numerous community woodlands and local woodlands.

Getting out and about – walking, cycling and riding

There is always plenty to see when you are out and about in the countryside - try our Countryside Access pages for ideas for walks and rides.

Volunteering opportunities

There are more than 100 local wildlife groups in Oxfordshire, so there are often opportunities to get involved in your local area.

Wild Oxfordshire

Visit Wild Oxfordshire to find out more - you can also sign up to the weekly bulletin which often includes local volunteering opportunities.

The Natural Environment Team

The Natural Environment Team is able to offer occasional internships for short periods of time, to work on specific projects.

The Chestnut Fund

The Chestnut Fund is an independent charity working closely with The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) to support groups which have little money when they are first set up, whose principle purpose is conservation volunteering and to enable them to begin practical work. Groups would need to be members of TCV’s Community Network.

Oxford Conservation Volunteers (OCV)

The Oxford Conservation Volunteers organise regular conservation volunteering activity in Oxford and around the county. Visit www.ocv.org.uk for further information.

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

The three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty within Oxfordshire - the Cotswolds, the Chilterns and the North Wessex Downs also offer opportunities for countryside volunteering in many different roles. Further details are available from the individual AONB offices.

Please note that Oxfordshire County Council is not responsible for the volunteering activities provided by other organisations.

Funding

There are various grant schemes that offer support, to help match fundraising activities undertaken in your own community.

Oxfordshire funding

The Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment provide grants for the improved biodiversity of local habitats, to increase access to the countryside and green spaces, and to encourage and develop the sustainable use of renewable resources in local communities.

Sustainable Development Grant schemes may be available for projects within Oxfordshire’s three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB):

Grants may also be available from your district council.

Community Greenspaces

Communities and Local Government (CLG) have produced a document which sets out potential funding available to community and voluntary organisations.

Woodlands

The Forestry Commission provide grants for landowners wanting to create new woodland and carry out sustainable woodland management.

Last reviewed
03 December 2014
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